Photo Essay: Hiking across Shānxī and Héběi Provinces

Megan Cattel
May 30, 2018 · 3 min read

In the spring of 2014, I set off on a trip to rural Shānxī (山西) province with my study abroad group. Our itinerary included seeing fragments of Great Wall ruins, spending the night with a home stay family in a small village, and hiking through rocky, mountainous terrain in Héběi (河北) province before returning to Beijing by bus. While preparing for the trip, my professor did not shy away from revealing the economic hardships the villagers faced. “Although we can categorize them as living below the poverty-line,” he told the class, “we see that they are living with dignity.”

Seeing ruins of the Great Wall
Arriving at our village home stay
Preparing baozi (steamed buns) from scratch. They’re stuffed with lamb, spices, and cilantro.
Animals in our backyard
Front yard of my home stay family’s house
Mules pulling us on a wagon before beginning our 12-hour hike.
After climbing up a steep incline, we arrived at a Buddhist temple that was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. We were told the temple was undergoing a restoration after several years of neglect.
Murals depicting heaven and hell (still in the process of being painted)
We hiked through narrow sheep herding trails to make it to the next town. Here was where we took a rest atop one of the peaks.

Latterly

Independent reporting on social justice

Megan Cattel

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A teacher, writer, and illustrator living in Shanghai, China.

Latterly

Latterly

Independent reporting on social justice